Friday, July 19, 2013

Running: an update

I mentioned last month that I took up running. I figured I'd take a minute now to expand on that.

First, some backstory- my main experience with running before now was having to run laps in high school, which sucked. I hated it. So I just always thought I hated running. My mom was a runner, as far back as I can remember she would go for a jog most days. I saw how much good it did for her, but I just figured it wasn't my thing. I've always tried to have a fairly active day-to-day lifestyle but sucked at the actual "regular exercise" thing. I've started (and then abandoned) various exercise plans over the years (hiking, walking, using machines at the gym, etc), always starting out strong then letting excuses win over my motivation. And then I had kids, and since then my exercise has basically just been trying to keep up with them.

A couple years ago Zach started running again (has done it off/on over the years), and watching him and a couple other friends get into it got me thinking about trying it out. At the time the logistics of trying to find time to run, and what to do with the kids while I did so, seemed too complicated. I was also way too bombed out of my mind with sleep deprivation to consider any new activity that would rob me of the little precious energy I had. But, the seed was planted. As someone who tends to let excuses get in the way of exercise, it's hard to deny the appeal of a sport where all you need is a pair of shoes (and some even question that) and head out the door. Not that I actually did anything about it, for a long while.

Then a couple months ago my sister was visiting and I mentioned to her in passing that I'd maybe possibly been thinking of one day maybe trying to start running, maybe. The next day she'd worked out a plan for us to walk/run most mornings after dropping D off at school, and taking Q with us in the jogging stroller (which we got years ago for walking on trails). The plan was to go for a walk for a full hour, running for as long as we (ie. me) felt up for it. At first we just ran for about 10 minutes in the middle of our walks, trading off on pushing the stroller. We did that together for the rest of her visit, close to 2 weeks.

Turns out, I don't hate running. The first several weeks were tough... The soreness I didn't mind so much, it made me feel accomplished. What sucked was the fatigue, the way running kicked my ass and left me feeling even more tired and crabby than usual. I tried to balance pushing myself while being mindful of not overdoing it (and then feeling like a zombie the rest of the day). Thankfully, once I got past those first weeks things got a lot better.  The past month I've mainly been running in the evenings, after the kids are in bed (another reason it's been great to have my in-laws here the past month- free babysitting!). That's a really nice time of the day this time of the year-- the light is gorgeous, and it's usually cooled off enough to be fairly pleasant. It helps that whether I run trails or through the nearby neighborhoods, the scenery around here is gorgeous. I've really enjoyed the time outdoors by myself, though a few times recently I've gone running with a couple friends and loved getting that time to chat (and be distracted from running itself and having to talk myself into keeping going). I'm also noticing the stress-relief benefits, how I really do often feel better, more relaxed, after a good run.

My main goal starting out was to be able to comfortably run for a good 20-30 minutes a few times a week. I'm there now, running up to 3 miles at a time, 2-3 times a week. I'm not sure what my goals are from here out, honestly I just want to maintain this pace for the rest of the summer/fall. My in-laws left yesterday so for the next couple weeks I'll need to do a bit more planning/juggling to find the time to run, but still totally doable. A couple people have asked me if I've thought about running any races, and I haven't really. Right now I don't have any interest in running half (let alone full) marathons, though I suppose I could see myself signing up for a 5k or 10k. We'll see. Mainly I just want to stick this out, actually keep up with it long-term rather than having it fall by the wayside after a few months like what usually happens.


  1. Congrats! I hope you can continue. It feels great and the endorphin's are so worth the benefit! For now I'm walking.. I did running for a while back and felt great when I actually did my first 10K in Canada under an hr! I was beyond excited and ready to do a 10K in my triathlon.. OR NOT due to injury! I do hope you can keep up with it. I'd love to start running again, but I'm incredibly scared about the pains and knee issues I got. We too live in a great area for evening runs. Looking forward to hearing you are sticking with it!

  2. Yay Babe - Running feels great and we'll have to make sure to arrange the day so you can keep it up. And then... we can move back to California where you can run anytime you want :)



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